Need a 3D Printer?

Affordable and Easy to Use...


What is a 3D Printer?

A 3D printer is an electronic device that creates physical 3D objects from one or more materials. The printer produces the object using data prepared especially for the printer using 3D printing software. This software usually comes with the 3D printer when you purchase one.


What is a 3D model?

A 3D model is basically the instructions for creating the physical object. Trackside3D provides the 3D models for a wide range of Model Railway items. We provide 3D models in a special file format called STL. You load the STL file into your 3D printing software, select your printer and the software will prepare the exact instructions for your printer to print the object.


What type of material does the 3D printer use?

3D printers typically use either a filament or a resin. 3D printers which use a filament will melt the filament and build the object layer by layer by passing it through a nozzle. Our 3D models are optimize to produce the best possible results using 1.75mm filament. There are a wide range of plastics available for 3D printers. We recommend using PLA as it is eco-friendly and does not produce an odor when printing. Our 3D models will work with other materials.

3D printers which use a resin are using a type of optical fabrication technique. These printers are more difficult to work with as they require the use of chemicals/resin to produce a model. However they produce much more precise and highly detailed models. Our 3D models work with SLA and other resin based printers.


Are 3D printers expensive?

3D printers are very affordable and cost about the same price as a Hornby HST set. A good quality large format (300mm x 300mm x 300mm or higher) will cost around £200 or less. 


Can I pay for 3D printers over time?

Yes. Klarna offers a financing solution to spread payments over a period of time. Enabling you to experiment with 3D printing without breaking your Model Railway budget. You can learn more about the options available by visiting Klarna UK or Klarna USA. If you are based in the USA, you can also look at Affirm. Online retailers such as Amazon also offer a variety of financing options. Some options can run less than £25 / month for a year.


Are 3D printers difficult to assemble?

No. While some 3D printers do come in kit form, most 3D printers come fully assembled or require very simply assembly (click the upright and base parts together, connector, plus 4 screws).


What 3D printers do you use?

Trackside3D primarily use medium to large format 3D printers from Creality and JG Aurora. We use the Ender 5, Ender 3 Pro and Creality CR-10 S5 printers from Creality. We use the A5, A1 and z603s JG Aurora printers. We highly recommend the JG Aurora A5 printer and exclusively use HatchBox 3D PLA. This printer typically costs less than £230 and can usually be found on Amazon Prime for a bit more if you want the printer faster. For those starting out with 3D printing, we highly recommend the new Creality CR-6 printer as it is very quick to assemble and does not require manual bed leveling.


Is there software you recommend?

Trackside3D uses Ultimaker's Cura Software which is FREE and Open Source. Cura works very well provided you have a working profile for your 3D printer. Upon request we can provide customers with the profiles to successfully print to all Creality and JG Aurora A1, A5 and z603s printers. We provide community support for other 3D printers via facebook groups.


Do I have to use the software?

3D printer software is necessary to convert our 3D models into the instructions for your specific 3D printer. Cura is a good option as it has a wide range of support. If you are in the market for a 3D printer but would prefer not to use the software, upon request, we can provide our customers with the processed gcode files for models they have purchased for the JG Aurora A1, A5 or z603s printers. These gcode files can be copied to USB thumbdrive or SD card (depending on which model you have) and printed directly from the LCD interface. 


How much does it cost to print a model?

The amount of material necessary to print a model is estimated in both weight (grams) and length (meters). As an example, our Style 63A point machine mounted on a set of sleepers will take 12 minutes using 0.25m and 1g of material. A 1kg spool of 1.75mm PLA from Amazon UK costs around £15. This is a 1000g spool, so 1g will cost about 1.5p or you could print 1000 point machines for £15. In comparison, Peco SL-47 is a pack of 6 point machines that you can purchase from most retailers for around £2.50. This is a cost of around 42p per point machine compared to 1.5p. When you apply similar savings around your layout, you can quickly see the benefit of 3D printing.


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